Expired tags, too-dark tint and a city SUV jaunt to SF?

THOSE TAGS ARE EXPIRED: Jim Crane has three issues that need a law enforcement answer. We start with “Expired license tabs. … I’ve seen more than few cars with tabs that are three, four, five years out of date. If they’re not currently registered, they can’t have insurance. And that’s a danger to me.”

Rebecca Atkins of the Albuquerque Police Department says “expired tags were not being enforced during the past year due to COVID-19. MVD was closed and even once they reopened, they were scheduled out three to six months for appointments. Many citizens were unable to obtain an updated registration due to this predicament. Now that MVD has mostly caught up and New Mexico is at full capacity, APD has gone back to enforcing expired tags and registration.”

THOSE PLATES ARE MISSING: Taking it a step further, Atkins says “Officers have been seeing (missing license plates) more recently. When they see a missing plate they will conduct a traffic stop and determine the cause of the missing plate. Many times the plates have been stolen. When this is the case, officers will file a report that the license plate has been stolen, and if it’s spotted on another vehicle it will come up as stolen. If a driver knowingly is driving around with missing plates, they will be cited.”

THAT TINT IS TOO DARK: Then there’s window tint. Jim emails “many, many vehicles (including law enforcement cars) have tinted windows that are so dark that it’s difficult to see if there’s a driver at the wheel. State law allows front-seat windows to be tinted, but the tint must allow 20% of outside light to shine through. Is that law being enforced? And how is an interested citizen supposed to determine if the tinting is within legal bounds?”

Atkins says, “State statute states that all windows excluding front windshields may have 20% tint on them. The front windshield may have a tint strip that goes no farther than the marked line. City ordinance allows 20% on the rear windows and 35% on the front driver/passenger windows. The only way this can be measured is by a tint meter. Some officers within APD are issued tint meters and can enforce these violations. All APD vehicles that have tint are tinted when they are built. This tint is done by a contracted up-fitter and falls within City Code. Officers that alter their tint on their own will be disciplined by APD policy.”

AND WHY IS AN ABQ CITY CAR IN SF? Finally, Jim and his wife “observed an Albuquerque solid waste car, a Ford Explorer, … in Santa Fe at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8. … There was a man and woman in the car which traveled south on Cerrillos Road, then entered Interstate 25 and continued to Albuquerque. Was there a justified city purpose for that car to be in Santa Fe on a Sunday afternoon?”

Emily Moore, who handles information for the city’s Solid Waste Department, says “the unit number (Jim) provided is one of Solid Waste’s new vehicles that was just received as part of the 2021 vehicle order so the GPS is still pending activation. The license plate number provided is not the correct plate number assigned to the vehicle. The location of the vehicle is in Solid Waste’s gated area, and to leave and enter drivers must pass a guard booth that is staffed by a security officer. The security officer who was working on Sunday, Aug. 8, stated the vehicle didn’t leave or return to the yard on Sunday during his shift.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.


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